The 2021 Olympic Games being held in Tokyo will feature more different sporting competitions than any other Olympics, with 34 different sports and a total of 339 gold medals being awarded.
For those wondering, swimming will feature the most gold medal winners of the games, with 35 possible top finishers.
The list this year includes four new sports and two returning sports. An IOC policy change in 2014 took effect starting with the Tokyo Games that allows the host nation’s organizing committee to propose new events for its event.
So, what’s new? Competitive skateboarding, surfing, karate, and sports climbing have been added to the list of Olympic sports, baseball and softball are making a return to the Olympic stage after an absence.
Baseball was an Olympic event from the 1992 Barcelona Games to the 2008 Beijing Games. The 2021 version will be men-only and feature six teams: Japan, USA, Israel, Mexico, South Korea, and the Dominican Republic.
Softball was an Olympic event from the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games to the 2008 Beijing Games.
This could be a one-off appearance for both, however, baseball and softball are currently not slated to be included in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Here are the new events:
Karate originated in Japan, so it is fitting it will debut as an Olympic sport during the Tokyo Games.
The competition will have two different events, kata and kumite. In kata, the athletes will be judged on form and technique, and in kumite, athletes will go head-to-head on the mat. There are about 80 athletes expected to participate.
Skateboarding will appear for the first time in Tokyo and is already included in the line-up for Paris in 2024.
The Olympic version will be split into two formats, street and park. The street competition will take place on a course featuring stairs, rails and other obstacles. The park competition will be at a dome-shaped bowl and participants will be judged on their ability to maintain flow while executing tricks.
There are 80 athletes from 18 countries participating in the skateboarding events.
Sports climbing will include three disciplines: speed, bouldering, and lead.
The speed event is simply that: two athletes go head-to-head climbing a 15-meter wall to see who reaches the top first. Bouldering involves navigating different routes across 4.5-meter-high boulders. And lead climbing will have athletes climb as high as they can on a 15-meter wall in six minutes. About 40 athletes are expected to participate.
Surfing will make its debut in Tokyo and is slated to appear again in Paris. About 40 athletes from 20 different countries will be competing. The schedule for surfing events will be dependent on conditions.
Also, the Tokyo Games will feature 3x3 basketball within the basketball program and BMX freestyle within the cycling program, both are being added this year. In addition, there are a few mixed-gender team events added to swimming and track and field.
Here is the full list of sports holding competitions during the Tokyo Olympic Games:
- Basketball (team), 3x3 basketball
- Beach volleyball
- Canoe Slalom
- Canoe Sprint
- Cycling: BMX freestyle, BMX racing, Mountain bike
- Cycling: Road and track
- Football (soccer)
- Gymnastics: Artistic and rhythmic
- Modern Pentathlon
- Sport climbing
- Swimming, marathon swimming, artistic swimming
- Table tennis
- Trampoline gymnastics
- Water polo
- Weight lifting
Opening Ceremony will officially kick-off the games on July 23, although competitions are already being held. The Closing Ceremony is on Sunday, August 8.